The assignment for today’s Writing 101 course was to select a response to a comment made by a fellow blogger and to extend the original response into a much fuller post. It’s something I’ve felt rather shy of doing, for some reason I can’t define, so I’m glad to have been ‘pushed’ into it. The first task was to read through all the comments I’ve received since starting my blog in June, and the responses I gave to those comments, to try to identify something I could extend into something worth posting and which would, hopefully, generate conversations rather than short comments.
I came across a comment left by alilovesbooks from some time ago. Ali writes reviews about the books she has read, and had informed me about a book written by one of my favourite authors, Jodi Taylor but under another name, Isabella Barclay. I suddenly realised that I read voraciously but never comment on my reading on my blog, which is a bit odd considering that my own writing style (such as it is) has been influenced by the authors whose books I’ve been reading for the last 50 odd years! So – I’m going to start remedying that right now, starting with Jodi Taylor/Isabella Barclay. I can’t believe I started that last sentence with ‘so’ – it drives me mad when others start a sentence with ‘so’, so why did I do it? I’m not feeling well – have a bad head cold and feel ugh, also running a temperature. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
Jodi Taylor has a wonderful writing style, humorous and very clever, which she puts to very good use in her Chronicles of St Mary’s series. For those of you who’ve never heard of Jodi Taylor but enjoy history/time travel/humour/strong female characters then I would urge you to try at least the first in the series. I’ve read all six to date, as well as her short story spin offs, and have loved them all. I’m not going to give anything away except to say that her heroine (Max) is an historian who works for a very special research unit called St. Mary’s. This research unit specialises in chronicling important events of the past in real time – in other words by travelling back in time and watching and recording events as they happen. Far fetched maybe, but great fun and very clever. In the more recent books in the series, The Time Police have been created (some time in the future, obviously), to ensure that these observers/recorders/historians don’t do anything which could possibly interfere with the present. There are a few baddies jumping around time, one woman in particular who is the heroine’s arch nemesis, her name being Isabella (bitchface) Barclay. This all makes for some very entertaining reading and I always look forward to any new books published by Ms Taylor.
Just One Damned Thing After Another is the first book in the series.
Well, of course, I just had to read Isabella’s book to see whether she was as good an author as Jodi – really, I HAD to.
Now I don’t know whether this was deliberate, but Isabella Barclay just isn’t as funny (or as clever) as Jodi Taylor. Or maybe she is and it’s just that I’m not into Regency Romance which is what A Batchelor Establishment seems to be. However, I’m wondering if the two personalities are ‘fighting’ each other to see who can be top dog in the author stakes because Max has, so far, come out on top at St. Mary’s. Then again, perhaps I’m reading far too much into it and they really are two totally different genres on purpose.
Now, I know that this is going to sound extremely odd but I can ‘go’ with the time travelling historians, it seems perfectly plausible and reasonable to me (and something I would love to be able to do as someone with a PhD in History). Can you imagine it? Being there looking on as something pivotal in history is happening in front of your eyes and you get to record it? For real?
Yes, yes, I know it’s all made up and isn’t really about to happen anytime soon – well never maybe – but it’s just so brilliantly written and I want to be employed by St Mary’s and do the whole time travel thing and ……….
I apologise sincerely for running off track a little there – did I mention that I have an excuse though as I’m not very well – running a temperature and I have a really bad cold? I’m also hallucinating! To get back on track then: A Batchelor Establishment was simply not in the same league. It didn’t have the same heart to the writing that comes shining through with the St. Mary’s series. I can accept that it may have been an attempt to try a different genre and see how it feels, but I really hope that if she writes another Regency Romance it will be blessed with some of the delicious sparkle which Taylor manages to imbue her Chronicles with.
I’m going now as I’m off to step into my pod (Jodi Taylor fans will know what I mean) as it’s scheduled to be taking part in another ‘leap’ in just a few minutes …… ah, hallucinating again I fear – I really must get a grip.